Death toll in Philippine storms hits 712
Oct 14, 2009, 9:50 GMT
Manila - The death toll in two storms that pummelled the Philippines in the past two weeks has risen to 712, the Office of Civil Defence (OCD) said Wednesday.
Typhoon Parma, which slammed into the northern Philippines on October 3 and brought heavy rains for almost one week, killed 375 people, mostly due to landslides.
The OCD said at least 48 people were still reported missing from Parma's onslaught.
Storm Ketsana, which triggered the worst floods in over 40 years in Manila and outlying areas on September 26, left 337 people dead with 37 still missing.
The back-to-back storms affected 7.45 million people, with more than 300,000 still staying in evacuation centres.
The OCD said damage to agriculture and infrastructure was estimated at 18.59 billion pesos (404 million dollars). More than 13 billion pesos of the damage was in agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the government was expected to lower the growth target for the sector in 2009 due to the huge losses from bad weather.
'With the full extent of the damage, we are likely to downgrade 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent,' he said.
The government initially expected farm output to expand between 3 per cent and 3.5 per cent in 2009.
But government economists said they were confident that the country's gross domestic product would hit the targeted 0.8 per cent to 1.8 per cent growth despite the typhoon damage.
'We expect the Philippine economy to attain the high end of the growth projection,' Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos said.
Santos said the losses in agriculture could be offset by an expected 4-per-cent growth in remittances of overseas Filipinos and an influx of foreign aid.